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US economists expect recession in 2020 or 2021: survey

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A majority of economists expect a US recession in the next two years, but have pushed back the onset amid Federal Reserve actions, according to a survey released Monday.

The survey came out after President Donald Trump pushed back against talk of a looming recession as a raft of US data reports last week showed a mixed picture on the economy.

“I’m prepared for everything. I don’t think we’re having a recession. We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich,” Trump told reporters Sunday.

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“I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they’re loaded up with money. They’re buying. I saw the Wal-Mart numbers, they were through the roof,” he said.

“And most economists actually say that we’re not going to have a recession. But the rest of the world is not doing well like we’re doing.”

His chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow also downplayed talk of a recession.

“I sure don’t see a recession,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press.

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AFP / Nicholas Kamm President Donald Trump downplayed talk of a looming recession, pointing to consumer spending

“Consumers are working at higher wages. They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually saving also while they’re spending… So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019,” he said.

“We’re doing pretty darn well in my judgment. Let’s not be afraid of optimism.”

The National Association for Business Economists (NABE) found far fewer experts now think the next recession will start this year compared to a survey in February.

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NABE conducted its policy poll as Trump put the Fed under constant attack, demanding more stimulus, but before the central bank cut the benchmark lending rate on July 31.

However, the Fed was already sending strong signals that it intended to pull back on the rate increases made in 2018 due to concerns starting to dog the economic outlook, including the trade war with China.

– Trade war skepticism –

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“Survey respondents indicate that the expansion will be extended by the shift in monetary policy,” said NABE president Constance Hunter, who is chief economist at KPMG.

Only two percent of the 226 respondents now see a recession this year, compared to 10 percent in February’s survey, NABE said.

However, “the panel is split regarding whether the downturn will hit in 2020 or 2021,” Hunter said in a summary of the survey, which showed 38 percent expect a contraction of growth next year, while 34 percent don’t see it until the following year.

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More economists shifted their recession prediction to 2021, narrowing the gap from the prior report, which had many more expecting the change next year.

The results show 46 percent expect at least one more rate cut this year from the Fed, while about a third see policy holding where it is now, with 2.25 percent as the top end of the policy range.

Economists are skeptical about a resolution to Trump’s trade wars, although 64 percent said a “superficial agreement is possible,” NABE said.

But that was before Trump announced another round of tariffs of 10 percent on the remaining $300 billion in goods not yet hit by US punitive duties. The new measures will take effect in two stages, on September 1 and December 15.

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As Trump continues his vocal campaign criticizing the Fed, the NABE survey found economists are concerned about the impact: 55 percent said his remarks do not influence Fed decisions but do “compromise the public’s trust in the central bank.”

And over a quarter of respondents said the criticism will “cause the Fed to be more dovish than otherwise, thus threatening its independence.”

The survey also asked about fiscal policy, and a majority of economists said Trump’s tax cuts “had an overall negative impact on housing activity over the past 18 months,” due to changes in deductions allowed for mortgage interest.


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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